Physicist Stannard questions what kind of personality, “if we can call it that,” might God have? Using the Bible as an a priori authority, he accepts that God is supposed to be one, unlike the Canaanite baals. He claims that theology must evolve just as science evolves by criticizing and then changing its own accepted paradigms according to newly discovered facts.
An equally gentle feminine side of God is slowly eradicating the harsh, punishing, masculine God of wrath. Although Stannard feels that genuine theological progress is being made, this reviewer questions such progress in light of what is going on politically in our world. Consider for a moment the often murderous relationships that exist between Jews, Christians, Muslims, and all peoples who have accepted specific religious dogma down through the centuries. Where is the theological progress toward the day when all-may-be-one? Hopefully, this will not be a oneness in a global nuclear melt-down.
The God Experiment discusses the place of pain and suffering in a God sustaining universe. If every person had every need fulfilled, Stannard claims “...It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible...” to love. One person shows love toward another by reacting to their needs. A needy person suffers whether it is mental suffering or physical suffering. Freely choosing to help that person eliminate their need demonstrates love.
Love also involves risk-taking. To many people, living alone has countless advantages. But the fact that so many individuals choose a loving partnership with another person shows they are willing to take risks: “self-sacrifice, compromise, difficulties, and conflict of interest.” Stannard reasons that divorce is proof of human nature’s desire to seek a loving relationship. People who have lost their willingness to relieve the needs of their partner or spouse will divorce, but then they may seek out another partner to share their lives.
The story of Job in the Bible, Stannard says, is the epitome of how to understand pain and suffering in God’s world. There is no real answer, nor will there ever be. Job prays to God for relief or at least an understanding of all the calamities which have befallen him. God answers his pathetic cries with a series of questions as if Job’s troubles are mere pains he must endure. It is as if Job should be trusting and loving and patiently bearing what the all-powerful has willed.